Disaster Recovery

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has compiled a list of resources that inform individuals about important steps to help them recover after various types of emergencies. You can view that list here.

For many situations, including the aftermath of hurricanes, tornadoes or winter storms, FEMA sets out these guidelines:

Aiding the Injured

Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.

  • If the victim is not breathing, carefully position the victim for artificial respiration, clear the airway, and commence mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • Maintain body temperature with blankets—but be sure the victim does not become overheated.
  • Never try to feed liquids to an unconscious person.


  • Be aware of exhaustion. Don’t try to do too much at once. Set priorities and pace yourself. Get enough rest.
  • Drink plenty of clean water. Eat well.
  • Wear sturdy work boots and gloves.
  • Wash your hands with soap and clean water or sanitizer often when working in debris.

Safety Issues

  • Be aware of new safety issues created by the disaster. Watch for washed out roads, contaminated water, contaminated buildings, gas leaks, broken glass, damaged electrical wiring, and slippery floors.
  • Inform local authorities about health and safety issues, including chemical spills, downed power lines, washed out roads, smoldering insulation and dead or injured animals.

In addition, FEMA has detailed recommendations for responding to:

  • Dam Failure
  • Earthquake
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Hazardous Material Incident
  • Landslide
  • Thunderstorm
  • Tsunami
  • Wildfire
  • Find your family
  • Get food & water
  • Find a place to stay
  • Apply for Assistance
  • Cope with disaster
  • Return home safely

Understand emergency response action steps